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Last Updated: Monday, 30 June, 2003, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK
Attack motive investigated
Pipe bombs
Army technical officers made the device safe
Police are investigating whether a pipe bomb attack on a house in south Belfast was racially motivated.

A couple who live in the house at Donegall Avenue with their eight-week old baby twins are believed to be from an ethnic background.

Army bomb experts made safe the device, which was taken away for examination.

The home of two black South African women on the same road was attacked with a pipe bomb earlier this month.

Inspector Darrin Jones said police were stepping up security for minority groups in the area.

Police have revealed a number of other possibly racially motivated incidents in the same area were being investigated.

They say literature bearing the name of a militant British political party had been posted through the doors of people from ethnic backgrounds.

Last week, Dr Alasdair McDonnell of the SDLP said an undercurrent of racism in some loyalist areas had led to a string of attacks on African people.

He said many asylum seekers had escaped persecution in their own countries, only to be attacked in Northern Ireland.

Dr James Uhomoibhi, chairman of the Northern Ireland African Cultural Centre, said they were just trying to make a life for themselves.

Higher level

Earlier this year, the Equality Commission said racist attacks in Northern Ireland were running at a higher level than in England and Wales.

Racist attacks in Northern Ireland are 16.4 per 1,000 of the population compared to 12.6 in England and Wales, said the commission.

Last year, a report said there were more than 350 racial incidents reported to the police between 1996 and 1999 - a 400% increase.

The number of racist attacks on children doubled - rising from 8.5% of total attacks in 1996 to more than 16% in 1999.

The annual total increased from 186 to 269 incidents between 1999 and 2000 - a rise of 45%.

The report was commissioned by the equality and social need division of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in 2002.

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21 Mar 03  |  Northern Ireland
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28 Feb 03  |  Northern Ireland
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10 Dec 02  |  Northern Ireland
Police appeal after racial attacks
13 Feb 03  |  Northern Ireland

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